H. L. Mencken Room Collection and State Library Resources

A Collection: Magazine and Newspaper Work

Typewriter and DisplaysMagazines

Mencken’s earliest magazine material dates from 1899. He began writing book reviews for the Smart Set in 1908, became co-editor in 1914, and continued until December, 1923.

He began the American Mercury in January, 1924, as co-editor, became sole editor in 1925, and remained until December, 1933.

The A Collection holds manuscript materials and clippings from the Smart Set and the American Mercury as well as articles from other national publications such as The New Yorker, Esquire, The Nation,the New Republic, and Vanity Fair.

Notable Volumes:

  • Smart Set (complete run during Mencken’s co-editorship)
    • "Monthly Book Reviews" ( November, 1908- December, 1923)
  • American Mercury (complete run during Mencken’s co-editorship and editorship)
    • "Book Reviews"
    • "Editorials"
    • “The Hatrack Case” – (9 volumes, including the legal documents generated by the case).
      •  Herbert Asbury’s story, named for an angular prostitute, appeared in the April 1926 American Mercury. It was attacked by the Boston Watch and Ward Society and proved to be the most important censorship case in Mencken’s career as a magazine editor.
  • Miscellaneous Magazine Articles (16 volumes) - some volumes include scrapbook material and newspaper articles.

Newspapers

Perhaps Mencken’s most important work was as a journalist. It is certainly how he saw himself and how his name came to be known nationally. He wrote famously about the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee during the summer of 1925.

The A Collection contains clippings, dispatches and revised typescripts from Mencken's long career as a newspaperman.

Stacks shelf at angleNotable Volumes

  • Baltimore Herald (Evening, Morning and Sunday editions) 1899-1906.
  • Baltimore Evening News – June and July 1906.
  • Baltimore Sun – 1906-Nov. 9, 1948 (intermittent over this period. Mencken’s last column was published on November 9, 1948. He suffered his debilitating stroke exactly two weeks later.)
  • A Proposed New Constitution for Maryland” Baltimore Sun, April 12, 1937.

 

  • Baltimore Evening Sun - April 18,1910 – 1948 (intermittent over this period).
    • “The Free Lance” (4 volumes) a daily appearing from 1911-1915. This was Mencken’s most important daily column.
    • Monday Articles (15 volumes) Mencken’s most important weekly column ran from 1920 until 1938.
    • Editorials and other writings.
    • Campaign and Convention Coverage (4 volumes). Mencken covered his first convention in St. Louis in 1904 and his final in Philadelphia in 1948. He did not cover every campaign or convention in between.
    • Series on Hopkins Hospital (1937); University of Maryland (1938)
  • New York Evening Mail – 1917-1918. Two of Mencken’s most famous columns appeared in the New York Evening Mail
    • “The Sahara of the Bozart” (November 13, 1917) attacks what Mencken viewed as the cultural sterility of the American South.
    • “A Neglected Anniversary” (December 28, 1917) Mencken’s fabricated history of the bathtub. To this day it is still sometimes reported as fact.
  • New York American 1934-1936.

Volumes Dealing with Germany

  • Two important volumes covering Mencken’s 1917 trip to Germany as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun and Evening Sun.
    • “Berlin February 1917.”
    • “Germany 1917” -- scrapbook.